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What If I Told You Sylvester Stallone Has Been Paralyzed Since Birth?

Have a seat, kids. It’s story time! Today, we’re going to tell you a little tale about the great Sylvester Stallone. While you probably know Sly from movies like Rocky, Rambo and The Expendables, you probably didn’t know approximately half of his face is paralyzed for example!

Sylvester Stallone just turned 68 last month and while it’s awesome that he’s still able to make bosslike action movies at his age thanks to training and a little helper called Human Growth Hormone, his rise to fame is an even cooler and more inspiring story.

On July 6th, 1946, a little baby rascal named Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone was born, but his life began with some problems. Due to complications, doctors had to use forceps to help with the birthing process, which led to them accidentally severing a nerve in baby Sly’s face. This would leave a good part of Stallone’s face paralyzed for the rest of his life.

The partial facial paralysis gave Stallone his unique expression and also slurred his speech. Most people wouldn’t even attempt to become actors with such a condition, but luckily Sylvester Stallone isn’t most people. Nah, he definitely is not. He’s a boss!

After a rough childhood that included his parents divorcing and tons of trouble in school, he made the decision to become an actor. At one point, he found himself homeless and so desperate for money that he even agreed to do an adult film for $200 in 1970.

After porn, he landed a few minor roles in movies and a couple TV series, but nothing major until 1976. Broke as a joke, Sly even had to sell his beloved dog for 50 bucks at one point because he was so poor. Sometime after selling his dog, he watched the epic fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner one night and it inspired him. Chuck Wepner embodied the term “puncher’s chance” when he almost knocked out the great Muhammad Ali in the 9th round of their 15 round fight.

Three days later, Sylvester Stallone had written the script for Rocky. At one point, he spent 20 hours straight just writing! It was brilliant and studio executives offered him $350k for the rights, but that wasn’t enough for Sly. Nope. He wanted to act in his movie and they wanted to cast someone else, i.e. Robert Redford or Burt Reynolds.

After negotiations, Sly ended up with the leading role in the movie he had written the script for. While it doesn’t seem 100% clear how much Stallone actually ended up getting paid, it was most likely in the range of $25-35k. Needless to say, Rocky was a huge success and was nominated for ten Academy Awards that year. It even won Best Picture!

Naturally, Sly wanted his dog back. So he found the guy he sold his puppy to and ended up having to give him $15k and a small role in the movie Rocky for the dog. So about half the cash he got for Rocky went into getting his dog back. Oh… and Stallone’s dog was also Rocky’s dog Butkus in the movie!


The rest is history. Today, Sylvester Stallone is an extremely famous Hollywood actor and also a great director. His is a truly inspiring story. Never give up on your dreams and always know your worth!

About Sascha Brian

Sascha Brian
Known around here as "the German", I am indeed German, but have also spent some time traveling the world. With 10 years of my life spent in the United States, rumor has it that I may even know how to grill a great burger. I don't wear socks with sandals any longer, but I still drink beer and eat sauerkraut like a German. When I'm not writing about motivational and inspirational people on Like A Boss, I can usually be found lifting things up and putting them back down in my garage gym (a.k.a. the dungeon).

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